The Work of How
Last week we explored ‘The Church of Why’ and the need to stay focused on the essence of our brand, our business and our trajectory. This week brings us to ‘The Work of How,’ and for many of us, the difficult part of the equation; IMPLEMENTATION.
It’s easy to catch a vision, get motivated and find inspiration about a new idea. Telling friends and family about business plans when adrenaline is running high is simple too, but then the implementation stage kicks in and it takes a little more ‘hutzpah’ to see projects through to the finish line. We have all suffered from ‘starters’ syndrome,’ the overwhelming desire to start something new, and the lack of interest to see it through to the finish line.
I’m a runner, not a fast one, and some would say, not a very good one, but I am a finisher. You see, to finish distance runs, you have to get through the painful, boring miles in the middle of the race. You know; the miles where the crowd has thinned, the excitement has waned, and your body starts to feel the toll of the exertion. The middle miles are what determine your trajectory, and your ability to see the finish line.
In the beginning of the race, excitement will carry you, and in the end, adrenaline will make your tired legs move forward. The true grit lies in the middle miles, and what carries you through this space is determination and vision.
You don’t have to be a runner to understand the analogy between training and business. The work of how is exactly what it sounds like, work. Implementation and execution can be thankless tasks in which you are opened up to criticism, set-backs, pivots and the need to reimagine your goals. However, this is where the achievers are set apart from the dreamers.
‘Why’ and ‘How’ individuals make great business partners, but even greater is the person who can catch a vision AND commit to the strategy to see that vision through to fruition. You will know these individuals by their results, we call them entrepreneurs or intrapreneurs.
So, on those dogged, middle mile days of ‘How’, don’t forget to come back to ‘Why.’ On the gritty, lonely days of implementing a plan, building a new location, integrating new technology or even improving yourself, remember to implement your plan with vision. Long after the crowd has gone for donuts, and you’ve sweat through all your clothes, remind yourself, put your ‘Why’ on repeat and keep going.
I’ll see you at the finish line.
Part 2/3 adapted from ‘Start With Why’ by Simon Sinek, published by Portfolio in 2009.